Looking for comparison between Cookshack and Smokin It

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by al sf bay, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. I had a Bradley smoker with a a BBQ Guru DigiQ2 and it had trouble getting up to temp when ever there was a modest breeze or it was below 65F outside.   I am looking for a smoker that will go down to 100F, doesn't need constant tending and is well insulated.  I believe the Cookshack SM045 mostly fit that bill, but  the lowest temps are 140F.  I can't find much on the Smokin It #2 as far as insulation or minimum temps goes.  Can anybody give me any more info on electric smokers with good insulation and minimum temps?  I am aware of the cold smoke plates to bring temps down on both models. I want something easy to clean, apprx 35 lbs capacity and doesn't break the bank!  

    Originally I was thinking the Cookshack SM066 and the Somkin It #3, but I really don't need/want that big a smoker.  
  2. Well I have the Smokin-It # 2 and LOVE it!!!   Mine has a min temp setting of 100 and a Max of 250 which works great for me.  It is VERY well insulated and requires no tending whatsoever. 

    The # 3 would be a good choice for you since you want a smaller smoker.  If you go much smaller than that you are limiting yourself to how much you can smoke.  Better to be a little bigger than you want/need and have the ability to entertain a small crowd. 

    As for Smokin-Tex VS Smokin-It VS Cookshack?  They are ALL great units.  Very very similar in all aspects.  The Smokin-It is less expensive than the other two.....that's why I went with it and couldn't be happier.  My brother have the Smokin-Tex and LOVES it as well but his is smaller than mine and cost about 250.00 more than my unit. 

    I have the cold smoking plate for mine as well so I can do cheese.  Works great.  What are your plans? 

    This is my unit......going to smoke 2 whole chickens today as well as some ABT's mmmmmmmmmm
  3. PadronMan,

    I am confused.   Ithought the Smokin It #3 was bigger than the #2.

    I am in a cooler climate than you and as a result insulation becomes more important.  It cools down to the low 50s every night here and I prefer to smoke at night as our electrical meter charges a lower rate in off-peak hrs (nights and weekends).  That is one of the driving reasons for wanting something I can load and not worry about.
  4. Oooops typo........I meant to tell you the Smokin-It # 1 would be a better choice for you.  It has a capacity of about 21lbs.  I can tell you that these are very well insulated.  Heavy duty little boxes that are set and forget.  I use mine all the time!!!

    I believe the price is around $289 or so. 

  5. thanks.  I do occasionally do a bigger smoke, which is why I am thinking about the #2.  On a different note, do these need a PID?  I have a BBQ Guru DigiQ 2 and a power raptor I could use, but It doesn't seem like many folks use them on these units.  Is it that accurate?
  6. The # 2 is a nice jump in size for only about $100 bucks.  That's why I went with the #2 so I could do 35lbs of whatever if I needed too.....which I have [​IMG]  

    I do not use a PID in this model.  It holds temps quite well.  Since these are analog temp dials you wont see the innacuracies of a digital.  I found my box to be accurate to within about 10 degrees.  Of course there are fluctuations but in my opinion they make not a bit of difference in the final product. 

    I pay attention to Internal Temp of the meat I am smoking and I have turned out some great Q (or so I have been told).   This really is a set and forget type smoker box.  So easy to use. 

    As an aside I would recommend the stand they sell (I love mine) and I also got the cover (that covers smoker and stand all at once).  Oh I also got the cord hanger accessory which keeps the cord from getting frayed on the ground. 

  7. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  8. Holy Cow you've got it goin' on there!!!  I'm not nearly so inventive nor capable of dreaming up these things!  I am a bit more simple in approach... if possible.  WOW, I've got to think about all those different possibilities for a bit, thanks
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  9. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Both the SI units and the CS units are well insulated.  And both companies make a fine smoker; you cannot go wrong with either.  I am sure that you are aware of the price differences.  You can up the insulation by getting a water heater blanket and trimming to fit.  No I do not do that myself but I have seen it recommended somewhere on this site.  In fact, the company that manufacturers the Big Chief family of smokers sells such an accessory. Also, check out the forums on both the CS and SI sites to get more answers (the CS forum is under customer service). Good luck.
  10. Thanks Sarge,

    Can I presume the primary difference in them is the control unit?  Do I need a PID with either or both?  the other big question I have is when your SI or CS is loaded and you open the door, how long a recovery time do you face?
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  11. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    I would go with the CS if finances were not an issue. I have a 12 year old cookshack Smokette, it has 3 racks that are 14x14 paid around 400 bucks for it then. It has made some of the best smoked food as for flavor, tenderness and moistness. So I am prejudiced, but I have never had a Smokin It, have thought about a Number 4 as it look like it would be big enough to hand sausage in.

    I think the smallest smoking it I would want would be a #3 it looks like the racks would be 14x20 maybe which would very nice if doing racks of ribs as you wouldn't need to cut in half to get them on the rack.  The racks in the CS045 look to be 14x18. 

    Let us know what you decide and why.
  12. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    al sf bay

    There are two (2) big differences:  the controller is one, and the other is that the CS is made in America. Both add to the cost, and that is not a bad thing. But there are other differences which give the SI unit some advantages.  The length of the power cord is one such advantage. Extension cords should be avoided whenever possible. A 12 foot cord gives some flexibility in smoker placement.  Wheels:  my 066 has small wheels that get a tad hung up on the patio negotiating paver bricks.  The SI heating element is of a higher wattage. The SI 3 has larger racks, stainless steel.   Mine are chrome, and stainless racks are (or were) an option. Accessories and parts are less expensive for the SI units than those for SmokinTex (ST) and Cookshack. Check the warranties carefully, and the return policy and time of return.  I believe you eat the cost of return shipping no matter which company you go with.

    Digital is nice.  Is it necessary?  No.  Read the FAQ on the smoker sites.  Analog will swing 20 to 30 degrees (or more) on the high and low side of the set temp, and this is normal and averages out over the during of the smoke.  Digital keeps it tighter.  But a 16 hour smoke is still a 16 hour smoke, regardless of the use of digital or analog. My brother has the SI 3. A remote thermometer like the Maverick works well for monitoring internal meat temperature. And he has not had a bad meal since he received the smoker.  Nor has he experienced and problems with the smoker. If you want digital, you can add an Auber unit to a SI smoker at a later date for far less than a CS with built in digital.  Either smoker will do you well, but I would look at the budget, read the posts on the SI and CS forums, as well as search here for SI posts.

    One thing I have noticed over the years is the obsession for accuracy. Many owners of the SI units use them straight out of the box with good results. Some (many?) will drop a remote temp probe through the smoke exhaust hole in the top and freak out over the temperature swings. They expected digital accuracy.  Well, the FAQ on the SI and the smokintex sites cover this very well. But it seems unacceptable to them.  So read first. The only time I would worry about the temp would be on a long smoke of butts, brisket, or from a safety factor, poultry, and then the probe goes into the meat.  The food is done when it is done, whether your smoker is analog or digital. 

    As I said earlier, you cannot go wrong with either unit. Were I to do it all over again, I would go with SI. At the time of my purchase a few years ago, and for the size I was looking for, I wanted a unit with 2 door latches and SI had only one latch.  And the ST while it had 2 latches on the 1500, had 2 heating elements and that struck me as odd. The ST is every bit as expensive as the CS but is analog. Go figure.


    I hope this helps. 
  13. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have the #3 and like it for convenience and my level of smoking. If the controller were to ever go breast up I'd invest in a PID, plug & play from Auber, for a few bucks. I believe SI also offers PID's in some units now. I drilled out the original air intake hole on the bottom to 1/2 inch using a bit for metal, took about 5 minutes maybe, so I could use my AMNS in it with better results. I have not yet drilled a second hole, as some have but it's still a possibility for me to do. All in all, SI is a bargain IMO, compared to others and Sarge is correct...the meats done when it's done in any unit. I'm still entertaining the addition of a pellet smoker to the household but the jury is still out on that one. HTH......Willie
  14. Sarge, that was exactly the kind of info I was looking for, thanks.  I began this quest fairly certain I was going to get a CS and was in shock over costs on the smoker as well as the accessories.  I think these all appear comparable in performance, the one thing that jumps out at me as a huge advantage is the 12' cord. That would eliminate the use of a heavy duty extension cord.  I also like the pricing on the SIs too.  Can I use chunks as well as chips in the SI?  I currently own a BBQ Guru DigiQ from my Bradley Days.  Would this wire in the same way the Auber does?

    Chef Willie, do you need the AMNS, or are you just looking for an extra heavy smoke?

    I'm thinking it will be an SI for me....stay tuned :)
  15. You can use chips in the SI....but u will need to purchase the chip insert for the wood box. It's not much so could be a good addition for you. I use only chunks.

    I wouldn't see the need for an aux smoke generator in the SI. mine produces plenty of smoke with no mods at all. It's a great unit.....just leave it be.

  16. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Glad I could be of assistance.  Please don't take anything I said as being negative on the quality or craftsmanship of the CS units. They are really good.  But pricey.  Had it been analog only I still would have gone that route. There were only two stainless steel units on the market at the time that used the compression versus gasket seal and had 2 latches for the door. Now that SI is on the scene with several models, the game has changed.  Lower price does not always equate with lower quality. And my brother's SI3 is top notch in my opinion. Truth be known, I have no first hand knowledge of the ST 1500 so I was basically buying blind.  A lot of trust went into my decision, and some praying. 
  17. dj-ia

    dj-ia Newbie

    I have a Cookshack SM020 which is the same as the Sm025 except for the stainless exterior. They are amazing smokers! Set them and forget until the meat temperature is where you want it. One advantage they have is the 300° cook temp for chicken with skin. I have read many reviews on both the ST and SI and lean toward the SI 3 if I had to choose. If you can afford it go with a Cookshack awesome product and service.
  18. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Noooo, don't believe you really 'need' it. I had an older dust burning AMNS and did a mod to use it for pellets so I could smoke lightly for longer periods than just using chunks (which I prefer). It works fairly well, occasionally going out after a row but, I didn't spend the bigger bucks for the tube smoker. 2 decent sized chunks in the SI is usually more than enough for a nicely smoked chunk of pig IMO. Sarge & I had quite the conversation over this when I was deciding on a unit and his advice holds true.....about 2 ounces of wood in an SI is plenty......Willie
  19. Thanks everybody, I have a SI on order, wohoo!  The things that made the difference were the 12' cord vs. 6', standard SS racks and price.  Let's hope I made a good decision.
  20. You made a great decision. Welcome to the SI owning family :)

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